Crypto market: a brief overview
While prices of the major crypto coins have been remarkably stable over the past several weeks, the underlying technology continues to evolve. Decentralised finance (DeFi) applications are generating a lot of traffic and geopolitical uncertainty is strengthening the real-world use cases for USD-pegged stablecoins, such as Tether. According to the research by a16z, crypto space evolves in cycles with technological upgrades and developer activity eventually leading to price gains. After three previous cycle peaks in 2011, 2013 and 2017, upcoming upgrades to Ethereum and Cardano blockchains indicate that a new cycle is gaining momentum.
Top 10 cryptocurrencies to consider
With more than 5,000 crypto coins in existence today, finding the most promising projects presents a challenge. So, what are the top cryptocurrencies to invest in right now?
It’s near impossible to imagine a list of the 10 best cryptocurrencies that doesn’t include BTC. So far, 2020 has turned out to be an exciting year for the BTC community. The recent halving generated a lot of excitement and social media traffic, supporting a rally to $10,000. Despite improved fundamentals, however, $10,000 continues to be a resistance level for BTC.
Trade Bitcoin to US Dollar – BTC/USD CFD
There are multiple short-term and long-term tailwinds supporting the BTC price.
In the short term, loose monetary policy and fiscal stimulus are supporting the view of bitcoin as an inflation hedge, or a form of digital gold. In the long-term, BTC is poised to benefit from the upcoming wealth transfer from the baby boomer generation to millennials. Limited supply, coupled with a growing demand for BTC, should make it an attractive long-term investment.
The second-largest cryptocurrency is getting ready for a significant network upgrade this year. Ethereum currently utilises a Proof-of-Work consensus protocol, which is limiting the network’s ability to scale. To solve this puzzle, Ethereum developers have been working on an upgrade to Proof of Stake consensus. The transition is designed to occur in three stages, with Phase 0 scheduled for 2020.
While the upgrade will take a couple of years to implement, Ethereum is in pole position to benefit from the growth in the utilisation of smart contracts. The recent expansion in DeFi applications has pushed daily transactions on the Ethereum network above 1.1 million, a level we haven’t seen since early 2018.
Cardano is another player in the smart contracts space, led by Charles Hoskinson, co-founder of Ethereum. The idea behind Cardano is to build a two-layer system, supporting peer-to-peer transactions and smart contracts. Cardano is meaningfully behind on its roadmap, but the team is well regarded in the industry for its thorough, research-based development.
Fortunately, Cardano is scheduled to roll out its own PoS upgrade in July, making the network “50-100 times more decentralised than other large blockchain networks”. If implemented successfully, the team can move on to smart contract integration and scaling solutions. This should be a long-term bullish catalyst for ADA and is reflected in the recent 54 per cent rally.
For that, Cardano’s native coin has made it to our list of the top ten cryptocurrencies to keep on your radar during this summer.
VeChain is one of the older projects in the crypto space and is one of the cryptocurrencies to watch. It was launched on Ethereum in 2015. In 2017, it decided to migrate from the Ethereum blockchain to its own network, raising $20m through an ICO. VeChain is an exciting project, tailor-made for the Internet of Things era. It can track assets on the blockchain. It has a smart contract layer that allows it to trace the ownership of assets and build decentralised applications using that data. This year, VeChain announced several enterprise partnerships, including those with Bayer (BAYN), Sam’s Club, H&M and APAC Provenance Council. VET is up 83 per cent in the past month, but still trades at just under $0.01.
Litecoin was created by Charlie Lee in 2011 and has always been one of the most popular cryptocurrencies. From the onset, the project used bitcoin code, with few notable differences, to improve long transaction times and high costs on the Bitcoin blockchain.
There are a few key differences between LTC and BTC. For example, Litecoin generates a new block every 2.5 minutes compared to bitcoin’s 10 minutes. It also uses a scrypt proof-of-work algorithm that does not require specialised mining hardware. Like bitcoin, LTC has a capped maximum supply of coins set at 84 million and is set to benefit from the inflationary fiat environment. Furthermore, the upcoming MimbleWimble upgrade, aimed at further improving scalability and privacy, could be a near-term catalyst.
First and foremost, it’s essential to understand the difference between the Ripple platform and the Ripple token, XRP. Ripple platform is a protocol developed to support cheap and fast transactions. XRP is the native token of the platform and acts as a medium of exchange.
According to Ripple, transactions on the network settle in four seconds and the network consistently handles 1,500 transactions per second. Cross border payments are a massive market and XRP should benefit as more institutions use the Ripple platform to facilitate payments.
Basic Attention Token (BAT)
BAT, together with the Brave browser, is part of the broader ecosystem that was designed to address inefficiencies in the digital advertising market. Brave browser is a privacy-oriented browser that blocks ads and trackers. Users can opt-in to see ads and receive BAT as compensation for their attention. There is a strong team behind the project, led by Brendan Eich, founder of Mozilla.
BAT, as an Ethereum-based token, is one of the assets supported by DeFi platforms such as MakerDAO and Compound. For example, investors can currently earn 25 per cent APY by lending out BAT on Compound. BAT price is up more than 60 per cent in the past three months and presents a good investment opportunity.
Neo is a blockchain platform, similar to Ethereum, that was designed to support digital assets and smart contract functionality. Unlike Ethereum, however, Neo supports common programming languages such as C++ and Java. The network uses decentralised proof of stake consensus mechanism (dBFT) and can support up to 10,000 transactions per second. The upcoming network upgrade, Neo3, is scheduled for late 2020, making NEO one of the cryptocurrencies to invest in right now.
Late last year Neo became the first blockchain member of Microsoft’s .NET Foundation further cementing its status in the crypto community.
Quantum is headquartered in Singapore and is currently the 54th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation. It is an open-source, PoS network, that combines some elements of Bitcoin and smart contract applications of Ethereum. Quantum’s decentralised governance protocol allows it to adjust some blockchain parameters such as block size and gas price. The project aims to accelerate the adoption of smart contracts by supporting standard coding languages and provides tailored solutions to enterprise clients.
QTUM is up more than 35 per cent in the past three months, and the team is currently working on new offline staking functionality.
Stellar, designed based on the Ripple network, is an open-source protocol that supports cheap international currency transactions. The Stellar network is decentralised, making it preferable to Ripple for many crypto enthusiasts and last on our list of top 10 cryptos.
Stellar also boasts several impressive partnerships, including with IBM (IBM). The IBM partnership is focused on creating an alternative to the SWIFT network, built on the Stellar blockchain. The stellar lumen token, XLM, is up nearly 30 per cent in the past three months and the project is well-positioned to disrupt the $689bn global remittance market.
Short-term crypto forecast: all eyes on BTC
The crypto market often relies on bitcoin, given its 64 per cent market cap dominance. Fundamentally, there’s a strong bull case for BTC, if it can break above the $10,000 resistance level and stay there. A push higher by bitcoin is likely to drive bullish price action in other crypto assets. Nevertheless, crypto assets are a high-risk investment and investors always should exercise some caution.
You can either take a long position, speculating that the price will rise, or a short position, speculating that the price will fall. Therefore, trading CFDs gives you the opportunity to try to profit from both positive and negative market fluctuations.
However, note that since CFDs are a leveraged product, losses, as well as gains, are magnified.
Always stay on top of the latest crypto market news with Capital.com to spot the best trading opportunities.
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